“We all still tend to look horizontally for what we will only ever find vertically.”
My health won’t save me.
My friend and I walked out of church on Sunday, walking briskly in the rain, avoiding the puddles, and discussing the sermon. She asked me some of my thoughts.
“I often think that if I get better, my life will be perfect. If I get better, everything will be fine again. But that’s not true. My health can’t save me.”
It’s hard for me to talk about life sometimes without tearing up. With my friend’s upbeat nature, it was easier to keep it together.
But I’ve discovered recently this thought process in my life. This thought that, if I was well, everything would be great. I would be whole and free and happy.
But that’s not true.
Granted, life would be easier not living in constant pain and sickness. But being well won’t save me. I can’t place my hope in being well.
Misplaced hope. This has long been a theme in my life. Looking horizontally for what I can only receive vertically. Looking to everything else but Jesus to satisfy the deepest longings of my heart.
Elisabeth Elliot writes, “My heart was saying, “Lord, take away this longing, or give me that for which I long.” The Lord was answering, “I must teach you to long for something better.” To long for someone better—to long for Him instead. This is the battle I face every day as an idolater. My heart is plagued with that which cannot give me life. I often look to anything else but Jesus to be my savior, to give me joy, to fulfill me. I look to the longing for marriage, when a husband cannot save me. I look to my own righteousness, when God sees Jesus’ perfect righteousness in my stead. I look to approval and affirmation from people, when I have already been fully accepted in Christ. I look to my future plans and ideals, when being a missionary or a teacher cannot bring me ultimate satisfaction. I think, “If only I have____ I will be happy.” Then I will be content. Then I will be fulfilled. Then I will be saved.
Thankfully, the Lord is not content to give us our idols, but, graciously, albeit painfully, works to rip them away. One by one. He works to teach us to long for something better—to long for someone better—to long for Him instead. To replace our idols with Him, the only One who can satisfy our deepest longings. He is the only One who can give us true and lasting joy.
My health cannot save me. I don’t want to want to be well more than I want the Lord to be glorified. I don’t want health more than I want Him. But I confess that it is hard. So hard. Praying for healing, but, trusting the Lord’s goodness if He does not heal. Desiring to be well, but, not letting that desire rule my thoughts and become ultimate. Learning how to rejoice always. Even when the darkness will not lift.
I am so tired. So exhausted of my illness. But my hope cannot ultimately be placed in being healed. May my ultimate hope be found in God, not in being healed.
My health cannot save me.